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Buchanan Bus Station
40 Years Of Operation
|Buchanan Bus Station, the main hub in Glasgow, is 40 years old. Built to replace the former Killermont St and Dundas bus stations it has also seen off Anderston X bus station in the south of the city. Originally home to suburban Glasgow routes and the occasional longer distance stage carriage service, it is now mainly used by local express, Citylink and National Express services. Although the skyline around the area may have changed the bus station is still recognisably the same with its draughty stances and acres of concrete.|
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5. Buchanan Bus Station replaced the cramped Killermont St bus station and the decrepit Dundas bus station. Seen in Dundas in April 1976 is Midland MRE6 (TWG557) from Kirkintilloch depot heading for Waterside and Fife FPE49 (WXA949M) about to leave on the long distance (27) for Leven.
11. The original occupiers of the bus station were Midland, Central and Eastern. Midland operated services to the Glasgow area (provided by Stepps depot), Kirkintilloch and Milngavie and left from stances 1-22 (service 7 to Bo'ness memorably left from stance 7); Central ran services to Lanarkshire and left from 47-40 and Eastern had services to the Glasgow area (provided by Baillieston and Airdrie depot) and left from 39-33. As today, the top stances 23-32 were spare although they have been served from time to time over the past 40 years.
7. The SBG (Scottish Bus Group) owned the bus station until 1993 when it was sold to the SPT (Strathclyde Passenger Transport). Until that time the local companies provided inspectors to supervise the stances (although most remained inside their little huts with their two bar convector heaters especially on murky winter days). Notable characters included Duncan, Charlie and Arthur from Midland, "wee" Jean from Central and her husband Mick who was the station controller. The inspector with the highest profile however was undoubtedly Pat McCormick, the irrepressible and irascible Irishman from Western who was responsible for the express stances (now 57-48 but formerly A-J) at the front of the station. Seen here in April 1977, he has his trademark clipboard in hand and pipe in pocket to load the 0930 departures for London. It was his bus station after all.
3. Unlike the Trumpton clock which told the time, steadily, sensibly; never too quickly, never too slowly, the Buchanan Bus Station clock almost never told the correct time. In fact none of its four faces told the correct time. Disconcertingly one of the sides would sometimes be a few minutes fast or slow - not an ideal situation for a bus station. MPE347 (ULS647T) is seen in front of the clock in July 1986 - is it 1355 or 1112 ? The clock has was eventually renewed but even its replacement has now gone.
4. The first major change to services in the bus station happened with deregulation in 1986. As part of the experiment to test passenger loyalty Kelvin (as Midland had become) moved lock, stock and barrel to Anderston X and Clydeside moved in the opposite direction. The theory was that passengers would board and alight in the city centre and this would make it more attractive to them. The reality was of course predictable traffic jams. It wasn't until 1993 when Anderston X was finally condemned that all services returned to Buchanan bus station. Clydeside M110 (KSD110W), a Volvo Ailsa on service to Newton Mearns, is seen at the water bay in December 1986.
6. The 70's and 80's were a period of strikes in the UK and the bus industry wasn't immune. Central was crippled by a strike in 1989 which basically finished the company (even under First it's never fully recovered in Lanarkshire) and in 1987 as a prelude the TGWU went on strike on Glasgow Fair Saturday, the busiest day of the year. Rather generously they allowed all the express departures to leave in the morning but by lunchtime things had turned frosty. Standing at the entrance to the bus station they convinced express drivers to terminate in Glasgow, resulting in this abandoned Northern Metroliner which would have been heading from Abderdeen to Manchester.
8. The bus station had one notorious fault from new. The swathes of concrete that were used for the road surface were sub-standard. In fact apparently the foundations were weak so no matter how often they were replaced or repaired (see photo 3 above) they just cracked or disintegrated again. Finally the problem was rectified in 1994 when the station was resurfaced properly with reinforced concrete. This was part of a larger scheme to refurbish the bus station and extend the waiting area for the express stances (which was long overdue).
12. Visiting coaches often use the bus station such as these Horseman coaches seen in May 1992.
10. In December 2000 the largest fall of snow in living memory dumped on Western Scotland. Glasgow city centre which very infrequently sees snow had drifts over a foot high and the impact can be seen here in the bus station.
1. As part of the refurbishment in the early 1990's a statue called the Winchers Stance was installed.
2. Seen from the roof of Concert Square Car Park it's obvious who are the main operators serving the bus station in the 21st century. Stagecoach express services to Fife, Ayrshire and Cumbernauld, First local services to Kirkintilloch and Lanarkshire and McGills (the successor to Clydeside) are now dominant. Gone are Stepps, Milngavie and South Side services which are now served by cross-city services.
9. Historically almost all coaches display only "GLASGOW" as their destination, however Megabus services additionally display "Buchanan Bus Station".
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